No, My Family Member Didn’t ‘Deserve To Die’ Because He Struggled With Addiction

No, My Family Member Didn’t ‘Deserve To Die’ Because He Struggled With Addiction

That person you have equated to be nothing more than their addiction is so much more than that.
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I'm sick of hearing these words. I'm absolutely sick and tired of hearing these words come out of others' mouths. It's repulsive and dehumanizing to say that someone "deserves to die" because of a struggle with substance abuse or alcohol abuse.

You can make the argument that he "made a choice." Go ahead, do it. You're entitled to your opinion.

But don't you dare say that he deserved to die.

You're saying that about someone's loved one. You're saying that about a human being who struggled with a very real and very prevalent problem in today's society.

If the tables were flipped, how would you feel?

How would you feel if you had people say to you, "he made a choice, so he has to pay for the consequences."

We talk about them like criminals. As if death is a "deserved side effect" of drug and alcohol usage.

When a teenager dies from an overdose, we're saying, "wow, that's tragic, he was so young." But when an adult dies, we say, "oh, he should have known better."

If that adult has been using since childhood, no, he or she really may not "know better."

I get it, OK. I get that not everyone believes drug addiction and alcohol addiction are diseases. As I said earlier, you're completely entitled to your opinion.

But to say someone deserved death, that's repulsive.

When people say that people with drug and alcohol addictions deserve to die, it's personal for me.

It's personal because I lost someone from those very causes.

It's personal because every day I choose not to drink even though I'm 21.

It's personal because every day I see people using drugs in and around my campus while I walk by avoiding the shouts to "buy some."

That person you have decided is nothing more than their addiction is so much more than that.

We all have our problems. Even Kim Kardashian, who the media believes to be perfect, has her problems.

But, until we recognize that someone who struggles with drug and alcohol usage is still a human being, our rhetoric isn't going to change.

I'm sorry to break it to you, but if you've ever made a nasty comment about someone struggling with addiction by calling them a "junkie" or some other foul word, you're part of the problem.

If you refer to someone who has gone through rehab as "clean" you're also part of the problem because that implies that those who aren't "clean," aka those who are using, are "dirty."

Again, that makes you part of the problem.

I'm not saying we are going to up and change overnight. I know that isn't realistic.

We do, however, need to be conscientious of how and why we use the rhetoric that we do when it comes to those in recovery and those struggling with addiction.

Sit back for a second and put yourself in their shoes.

How would you feel if you had people telling you that you deserved to die?

Just let that one sink in, and then come back and tell me how you feel about that rhetoric you've been using.

Cover Image Credit: 123rf

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I Weigh Over 200 Lbs And You Can Catch Me In A Bikini This Summer

There is no magic number that determines who can wear a bikini and who cannot.
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It is about February every year when I realize that bikini season is approaching. I know a lot of people who feel this way, too. In pursuit of the perfect "summer body," more meals are prepped and more time is spent in the gym. Obviously, making healthier choices is a good thing! But here is a reminder that you do not have to have a flat stomach and abs to rock a bikini.

Since my first semester of college, I've weighed over 200 pounds. Sometimes way more, sometimes only a few pounds more, but I have not seen a weight starting with the number "1" since the beginning of my freshman year of college.

My weight has fluctuated, my health has fluctuated, and unfortunately, my confidence has fluctuated. But no matter what, I haven't allowed myself to give up wearing the things I want to wear to please the eyes of society. And you shouldn't, either.

I weigh over 200lbs in both of these photos. To me, (and probably to you), one photo looks better than the other one. But what remains the same is, regardless, I still chose to wear the bathing suit that made me feel beautiful, and I'm still smiling in both photos. Nobody has the right to tell you what you can and can't wear because of the way you look.

There is no magic number that equates to health. In the second photo (and the cover photo), I still weigh over 200 lbs. But I hit the gym daily, ate all around healthier and noticed differences not only on the scale but in my mood, my heart health, my skin and so many other areas. You are not unhealthy because you weigh over 200 lbs and you are not healthy because you weigh 125. And, you are not confined to certain clothing items because of it, either.

This summer, after gaining quite a bit of weight back during the second semester of my senior year, I look somewhere between those two photos. I am disappointed in myself, but ultimately still love my body and I'm proud of the motivation I have to get to where I want to be while having the confidence to still love myself where I am.

And if you think just because I look a little chubby that I won't be rocking a bikini this summer, you're out of your mind.

If YOU feel confident, and if YOU feel beautiful, don't mind what anybody else says. Rock that bikini and feel amazing doing it.

Cover Image Credit: Sara Petty

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The Opioid Crisis Is Real, And You Cannot Run From It

It will come into your community and it will hit with force.
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From 1999 to 2016 630,000 people died from a drug overdose, and 350,000 people died from an opioid overdose. 115 people die every day from an opioid overdose. In 2016 there were 63,600 drug overdose deaths and about 66% of those deaths involved an opioid. That is five times higher than the death rate in 1999.

The CDC outlines the opioid epidemic in waves. It all started in the 1990s with prescription opioids, in 1999 the rise in deaths from these prescription opioids make up the first wave. The second wave in 2010 involves the rise in heroin overdose deaths. Then in 2013, the third wave hit with a rise in synthetic opioid overdose rates.

What are prescription opioids?

They are the pain drugs doctors give you for pain. So cancer patients and those in post-surgery recovery are prescribed these the most. The most common drugs are Methadone, Oxycodone aka “Hillbilly Heroin”, and Hydrocodone. Heroin is an illegal street drug that is highly addictive. It is normally injected but can be smoked or snorted.

Fentanyl is the new wave of the opioid crisis. It is a synthetic opioid and is typically used for advanced stage cancer patients. What is so dangerous about fentanyl is its potency, it is 50-100 times more potent than morphine. Some drugs, mostly heroin and cocaine, are cut with fentanyl making the effects of these drugs stronger. This is sometimes done without the knowledge of the people taking them.

A result of the opioid crisis nobody talks about is the effects it has on children. As of 2017, Kentucky leads the nation in babies born addicted to opioids. Part of First Lady Melania Trump’s Be Best initiative is addressing the needs of children affected by this crisis. Especially children born addicted to drugs. These infants are given doses of morphine and slowly taken down off of it. They scream, have seizures or convulsions, and will throw up due to the withdrawal. These children are sometimes placed in the NICU for seven weeks or more.

President Trump was right in declaring the opioid crisis a national emergency. States like Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia might have the highest overdose rates; but unless we address this problem soon your state might be on this list too.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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